Culture

Academia in Turkey ‘reminds me of Ceauşescu’s Romania’, says exiled scholar

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Political theorist Andrei Stavilă explains how a comment on a friend’s Facebook page led to exit from Turkish university Times Higher Education By Jack Grove Twitter: @jgro_the A politics lecturer has alleged that he was forced to resign from a Turkish university after making a Facebook comment criticising government efforts to intimidate and silence academics. Andrei Stavilă had recently been informed that his one-year contract at Muğla Sıtkı Koçman University, in eastern Turkey, would be renewed for two more years ... Read More »

Pope Francis set for historic meeting with leader of Russian Orthodox Church

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Vatican City: Pope Francis will make a surprise trip to Cuba on February 12 for a historic meeting with the leader of the Russian Orthodox Church, the first meeting between a pope and the Russian patriarch since the Eastern and Western branches of Christianity split nearly 1000 years ago, the Vatican announced Friday. The Sydney Morning Herald * Elisabetta Povoledo * For Pope Francis, the meeting is the result of delicate and sustained diplomacy, some of which began decades ago under ... Read More »

Nauru: How long can we keep lying to ourselves?

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The history of asylum seeker policy in Australia will be remembered as a story of how successive governments legislated their lies to justify a world of make-believe borders and imaginary compliance. The Sydney Morning Herald – Waleed Aly, Columnist Video – CHURCH WILL LOCK DOORS TO PROTECT FAMILIES – ””” The Anglican Dean of Brisbane feels “so desperate” about the plight of asylum seekers facing deportation he is offering to protect them in the church and resist by closing the building.””” Wonderful idea, sovereignty. ... Read More »

‘How can you say no?’

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After nearly five years of war in Syria, its tiny neighbour Lebanon has the highest concentration of refugees in the world. But while an overstretched government is increasingly hostile, some Palestinian residents are bucking the trend, responding with great generosity – across the religious divide. Reem Haddad reports. New Internationalist Something strange and new is happening on a little hill just 12 kilometres north of Beirut. Veiled women are walking around the narrow alleys of a little Christian enclave. In tow ... Read More »

Australian Open: Protesters who disrupted men’s tennis final in Melbourne charged a year on

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A group of asylum seeker advocates who staged a protest during the men’s Australian Open tennis final last year have been charged nearly 12 months after the event. ABC – By the National Reporting Team’s Dan Oakes Key points: Eight protesters have been changed under the Major Sporting Events Act. Protester says she has no doubt the charges are aimed at deterring activists. Activist says the charges will not deter her from further protests. One of the protesters said today ... Read More »

Comment: Black boys are perceived as older and less innocent than their white peers

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A survey of police officers aimed to measure hidden biases about black people, especially children. The results are striking, writes Melissa Dahl. SBS – By Melissa Dahl Source: Science of Us Earlier this week, a grand jury ruled that the Cleveland police officers would not face criminal charges in the death of Tamir Rice. The boy, who was 12, was playing with a toy gun near his home when he was shot by a police officer last November. Much has been written about ... Read More »

Muslim leaders including the Grand Mufti of Australia back fatwa against Islamic

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Australia’s leading imams have backed a fatwa against the Islamic State terrorist group, warning that any support for the group contradicts Islamic teachings. The Age – Natalie O’Brien, Investigative Reporter In a New Year message to the nation’s Muslim community, the Grand Mufti of Australia together with prominent imams from NSW and Victoria have given their religious opinions and urged congregations, particularly the youth, to listen to their religious leaders. The Grand Mufti, Dr Ibrahim Abu Mohammed, who is the spiritual leader of Muslims in Australia said “most ... Read More »

Does Political Islam Have a Future?

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Five years after the Arab Spring, hope for a nonviolent and Islam-inflected politics is narrower than ever. The National Interest – Cameron Glenn The political space for nonviolent, Islam-inflected politics has become narrower and more treacherous in the last year. Squeezed by repression on one side and radical violence on the other, nonviolent political Islamists were increasingly silenced or eliminated in 2015. Moderate parties were sidelines in Egypt, Algeria, Jordan and Morocco. In Syria, Libya, Yemen and the Palestinian Authority, their ... Read More »

Review: In ‘NFL Confidential,’ Protein Shakes Instead of Bling and Booze

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There are many ways to be macho on a football field. In “NFL Confidential: True Confessions From the Gutter of Football,” a player writing under the pen name Johnny Anonymous relates a method of expressing masculinity that fans might not have considered. The New York Times – By DWIGHT GARNER “For some guys, linemen especially,” he writes, urinating in your pants while on the field “is actually a thing, a sign that you’re so into the game, so much of a ... Read More »

Islam as partisan profit: An Egyptian epic

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Scholars, whether religious authorities or not, would fulfil a great role if they would exhibit consistency. ABOUT THE AUTHOR: H A Hellyer is a senior nonresident fellow at the Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East at the Atlantic Council in DC. @hahellyer When the Egyptian uprising broke out in 2011, the opponents of Hosni Mubarak consisted of many different groups and trends. Within a few months, the “divorce” between the revolutionary camp and the Muslim Brotherhood-led faction began. At the heart ... Read More »

Why Erdoğan is like Ataturk

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There are more than a few similarities between the two most influential modern Turks. Politico By Nick Danforth  When President Erdoğan’s party won an unexpected and decisive victory in Turkey’s November 1 election, many surprised observers concluded that the Turkish people had voted for stability. A month later, following the downing of a Russian jet and continued killing in the country’s southeast, stability seems more elusive than ever. Yet as Erdoğan leads Turkey into turbulent waters, polls suggest that his popularity ... Read More »

Minister calls for new laws for unbaptised pupils

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O’Sullivan wants denominational schools to set aside places for non-Christian children The Irish Times – Carl O’Brien Minister for Education Jan O’Sullivan has called for new laws to ensure denominational schools set aside places for local children who are not baptised. At present the Equal Status Act permits schools to discriminate in favour of children on the basis of religion in order to protect their ethos. However, Ms O’Sullivan said legal advice she has received indicates that schools’ religious ethos would be ... Read More »

Just don’t call it Christmas: In Israel, Russian holiday coming out of closet

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Novy God, a Soviet-created secular holiday that borrowed from Christmas and New Year’s, was embraced by Russian Jews and is gaining acceptance in Israel. The Christian Science Monitor  By Joshua Mitnick, Correspondent TEL AVIV — Growing up the son of immigrants in the Israeli city of Ashdod, Alex Miller never told non-Russian speaking friends about his grandmother’s fir tree that he and his cousins would decorate in honor of the New Year. Though many of the 1 million newcomers from ... Read More »

The ban on Christmas: business as usual in Brunei

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Christians in Brunei say Christmas celebrations are “as normal” for them, despite world media headlines suggesting the country has “banned Christmas”. Bible Society – Kaley Payne Imams in Brunei reiterated the country’s ban on Christmas celebrations for Muslims this month, warning that celebrations like Christmas, which are “not in any way related to Islam,” could lead to imitation and damage the faith of Muslims. Anyone found illegally celebrating Christmas in Brunei could face up to five years in prison, a $20,000 ... Read More »

Just another day in the office for Canberrans at work this Christmas

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As Erica Mazhindu’s family are getting ready to celebrate on Christmas Day, the registered nurse will be finishing an overnight shift on the wards at the Canberra Hospital. The Canberra Times – Tom McIlroy, Legislative Assembly reporter at The Canberra Times One of thousands of Canberrans who will go to work as normal on Friday, Ms Mazhindu said her colleagues and patients at the hospital would be in a festive mood, despite missing some of the celebration with relatives and friends. A veteran of working during the festive season, 2015 ... Read More »

Valerie Browning – the angel of the African desert comes home to the excess of a Christmas in Australia

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Even the most dedicated shopper can be turned off by the commercialism of Christmas, so it must be maddening for this small, desert-worn woman – used to working with people who have nothing – to be among so much excess in the middle of Sydney. The Age – Megan Doherty, City reporter for The Canberra Times Former Armidale nurse Valerie Browning first volunteered to work in Ethiopia in1973 and for the last nearly three decades has lived with the nomadic Afar people, ... Read More »